Project Mama Earth & Joss Stone - Mama Earth LP
The all-star Mama Earth lineup of Joss Stone (vocals), Nitin Sawhney (guitar), Jonathan Joseph (drums), Étienne M'Bappé (bass/guitar) and Jonathan Shorten (keyboards) will release their debut EP "Mama Earth" via Mascot/Provogue.
The project started when British soul singer Joss Stone and her former musical director Jonathan Joseph hit on the Mama Earth concept of an album driven by the dynamic rhythms of Africa. A band was assembled from all corners of the music world. Jonathan's compadre Étienne M'Bappé, the dazzling Cameroon-born multi-instrumentalist whose résumé spans from John McLaughlin to Robben Ford; Jonathan Shorten, who had produced much of Stone's studio catalogue between penning some of the biggest hits for acts including Gabrielle and (again) Joss Stone. Finally, there was Nitin Sawhney: the genre-slipping wildcard and one-man musical tidal wave whose collaborations take in Sting, Paul McCartney, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
The 5 musicians convened at Stone's house, where the musical squad didn't take long to feel each other out. Music was spontaneously written on the spot, without any preparation. In the meantime, Stone purposefully kept her own creative process separate from the four musicians. "I left them to do their own thing with the music in the studio," she reflects, "while I was cooking dinner in the kitchen. I deliberately didn't have any input in the music, because I didn't want to affect it – or it'd all come out hip-hop and R&B! Then they'd come across into the house, give me the track and I'd sit in the kitchen writing lyrics and melodies with my mum. So it was, like, 'You guys do you, and I'll do me – then we'll put it together'. And that's the way it worked. I also went down to the river on my own with a pen and paper and write in the grass by the river. Which was a good way to do it, actually, The whole project is about Mother Nature. It's supposed to be from her perspective."
Just ten days after they came together – and following a powerful co-production from all five band members – the Mama Earth sessions were over. And yet, you sense that the story of this fascinating band is only just beginning. Impulsive, dynamic and sometimes downright dangerous, this is an album unlike anything else in the five musicians' respective CVs, unprecedented in the clinical modern music scene – and sure to make waves upon its release. "I guess this album is essentially how I think of music," considers Sawhney. "It was all about being open to the moment. I think that's really what I loved about this project. To me, Mama Earth is what music should be about, really..."
1. Mama Earth
2. Interlude 1
4. Interlude 2
6. Interlude 3
7. What Would She Say?
8. Interlude 4
10. Interlude 5